• Abhinav Bangia

5 Ways to Effectively Mitigate Ad Fraud Risk

Updated: Aug 26, 2019



With the growing cyberspace, the abundance of internal and external threats can make it difficult to stay ahead of fraudsters. The risk involved with advertising fraud continues to grow in both size and complexity as the ability through cloud to move, share and expose corporate assets becomes easier.


If the organization is not keeping up with the evolving threats in digital advertising industry, they would be vulnerable to loses both in terms of reputation and revenue.


1. Investing in a Fraud Detection Vendor : It should be priority to invest into a vendor that can help you analyze your large amount attribution data for fraud. Today, ad fraud has become a complex problem. Traffic providers themselves house an ad fraud detection team which provides them with the feedback loop for optimizing fraud attributes into non fraud types. In this difficult scenario, it becomes difficult for advertisers to weed out fraud in their campaigns. Advertisers should look for vendors that leverage machine learning and advance statistical technologies to detect ad fraud.


2. Communicating with Employees around Fraud : Educating your marketing & advertising employees on what is and is not appropriate regarding the rising ad fraud. Establish policies that define the expectation of privacy and your company's right to monitor network activity. Hold internal and external workshops on fraud and ethical behavior in the workplace and establish a chain of command in dealing with suspected fraudulent activity.


3. Updating definition of Ad Fraud : The only constant about ad fraud is change. Processes, Procedures and Practices, which are based on static definition of fraud are largely ineffective in fraud risk assessment and contribute to increasing losses and decreasing your ROI.


4. Cumulatively understand Transactions across Media Channels : While digital marketing campaigns today have an estimated fraud of 40% in them, depending on how hard are your KPI's are and what quality of fraud detection do you use at the back end.


In order to show potential ROI driven marketing or CPCU performance index, fraudsters often do a mix of things as below


A. Supply huge amount of Bot traffic : This is just to meet the high scale key matrices and mix the traffic with bots so as to make sure any form of fraud detection can be evaded.


B. Organic Hijacking using Cookies, Coupons, Geo-Targeted Bidding : While your team has been extensively running walled garden ad's, a separate agency is doing that too, but making it re-attribute as non-organic traffic. This not only impact's your keyword bid but effectively also decreases your organic conversions as they are being attributed as non-organic.


C. Buying out Highly Discounted Products : In order to keep the high value purchase order rolling every month, an exact equal amount of your advertising purchase order is being used to buy products and resell them in the black market. This keeps marketers think, that ROI is being driven at least equivalent to an amount they have invested, keeping their interest going on. It becomes very important to study the product's being bought on CPCU channels as a whole, study for % of discounted products sold, variability and diverseness of the products sold, entropy of payment types and as well of entropy of longitude and latitude of addresses where products are being delivered and study these matrices over your organic spends. If you find major differences, you are being duped.


5. Over the Top Fine for each percentage of Fraud Detection : In order to deincentivize fraud play in your traffic supply chain, deduction shouldn't be equivalent to the the fraud percentage detected in the campaign, but almost about 150-200% of the fraud percentage detected. This would deincentivize the entire supply chain. With a sub-publisher giving 50% of fraud conversions/organic theft/back shop marketing, a deduction of 75-100% would actually derail any such plans for further growth of such malicious players in the market.

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